Ember Faith Leadership Programme in Coláiste Éanna

Ember is a programme set up by the Archdiocese of Dublin, which entails students becoming Faith Leaders in their schools. This year, 9 students were selected to attend the training programme which took place in Avoca Manor, County Wicklow. The group included Alex Craven, Mati Karski, Shane Keane, Killian Morris, Niko Szmaj, Dara Ward, Kelvyn Fields, Michael Sheils and Manus Coughlan. Mr Flynn co-ordinated the programme in Coláiste Éanna.

When all the participating students from the 6 schools arrived we began our first evening with some ice-breaking games including a ‘speed-dating’ exercise! Following this, all the schools were asked to propose something that they could undertake to do in their own school that would promote the Ember Programme and demonstrate their role as faith leaders in their school. We decided to undertake the renovation of the prayer room and organise a number of religious services for the various year groups, but primarily focusing on the 1st years. That night we had a reflection and went to bed looking forward to the next day.

The following morning we had more team building exercises. However, on one of them Kelvyn slipped and cut his hand quite badly which required a visit to the doctor. We laughed about it afterwards as it looked like he’d been stigmatised!

That night we performed an amazing rendition of Titanic as a play in a competition with the other schools. At the end of the play the judges announced that whichever school teacher made the biggest noise were the winners. This resulted in Mr Flynn shouting “we love you Éanna, we do!” in front of everyone which needless to say was hilarious. Regardless, it was worth it as we won the competition. We finished off the day with a campfire and a service before bed.

On the final day we were commissioned Ember Leaders by the Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Eamonn Walsh. The commissioning ceremony involved each student being presented with their Ember badge and a graduating certificate.

Since our return from Ember training we have been very active around the school community. The first project we undertook was leading a short meditation for each of the first year classes. The aim of the meditation was to promote positive attitudes towards the school prayer room but also to help the new first years settle in. The initiative was a huge success with many of the first years wanting to repeat the experience.
The next project the Ember undertook was the morning reflection. The reflection is used to promote Spirituality and Wellbeing in the school. Each morning a member of the Ember team has selected a thought for the day. These thoughts have been both spiritual and motivational and we are always open to suggestions for morning reflections from the student body.

The Ember team played a pivotal role in the back to school services. This service was notably important as it marked 50 years of Coláiste Éanna. Different members of the team arranged different parts of the service. Some of us took part in dressing the altar while others did readings. Members of the Ember team with Eucharistic minister training were also on hand to distribute communion.

Members of the Ember team have had the privilege of joining the 2nd Years on school trips to locations associated with Blessed Edmund Rice. Callan in Kilkenny and Mount Sion in Waterford, are very important to our school as they are the places of Edmund Rice’s birth and resting place. On the trips members of the Ember team have lead the 2nd Years in meditation.

Kelvyn Fields and Manus Coughlan